The main topic of conversation this month has been our herds’ pregnancy diagnosis. Bearing in mind we achieved 30% empty rate last year, I budgeted for 25% this year. This would mean out of 420 cows, five would need to be seen bulling a day, and since we were seeing three or four a day, it looked liked we were on target.


On the big PD day with our two vets, we learnt we had achieved a 15% empty rate, which is a fantastic result, and a big well done to everyone concerned.

Looking back at pre-mating, we had a bad winter, but the grazing conditions after calving were good. We put a quarter of the cows on once-a-day milking for five months and were fed well during the dry period after mating. The mob of 10 eager dairy bulls probably helped.

The cows not in calf were a surprise though, with a number of young cows and seemingly healthy looking animals. And sadly Scott’s favourite cow – 466 – was one of the empty ones, so we are looking for an animal pet park that has room for a 650kg Holstein cow that likes lots of attention and cake. He would be better off with a tough little Jersey cross bred next time.

Having bought some in-calf heifers, as well as our own in-coming heifers, this will allow us to do some voluntary culling, which should help herd health. It also means we will be calving down more than 600 cows next spring. In preparation for this, we had a visit from Kinghay’s Rob Mintern, who was looking at calf ventilation. He recommended a few adjustments to prevent calf pneumonia.

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